By Erin Bird,
I hope you've had a fantastic week. If everything goes as planned, my family will be pulling back into Waverly tomorrow night (June 21) super late. I look forward to seeing you at our Worship Gathering on Sunday to continue our Genuine Joy series through Philippians with Ed Pavelec teaching us from Philippians 3:12-4:1.
As promised, I want to talk this week about the topic of Baptism. As you hopefully know, Riverwood is joining Grace Baptist and Denver Baptist for a combined outdoor baptism and potluck on July 14 at Kohlmann Park. If you follow Jesus, but haven't been baptized yet, here are four reasons why I think you should get "dunked" on the 14th:
1. God expects it.
If you read Romans 6:1-4, you see that Paul (writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) assumes that if you follow Jesus, you’ve been baptized. He sees baptism as full identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
While there are some church denominations that say you aren’t “saved” or truly forgiven of your sins until you are baptized, I personally believe that according to Ephesians 2:8-9 our salvation is ONLY the work of God. Baptism simply reveals outwardly the inward work God has already done and is doing in us through the gospel.
But while baptism isn't like a magic ceremony that guarantees you heaven, it is a deeply reverent sacrament that gives evidence our life is found in Christ. So I believe God wants us to "go public" with our relationship with Him through Jesus by being baptized.
2. Jesus did it.
The four gospel accounts of the life of Jesus highlight different stories and teachings, giving us a well-rounded view of Jesus’ life and theology. But there are only a handful of stories that all four gospel accounts share. The most well-known is the death & resurrection of Jesus (no surprise there). But another one is His baptism!
Jesus did not need “saved” since He was the sinless Son of God. Yet he was baptized by his cousin John to launch the public aspect of his ministry. It is after this point that Jesus recruited disciples and began to travel around the Palestinian region proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
If we are to “live like Jesus lived,” then we should also go public via baptism as well.
3. You need it.
No, you don’t “need” baptism in order to be “saved” or to prove anything to God. Getting baptized doesn’t make you any spiritually cleaner, nor does it gain you super-saint status.
But baptism does help you put a "stake" down in your spiritual journey. We are all on a spiritual journey, and as we walk this path through life, occasionally we need some markers, some "stakes", that we put down on our path to remind us where we've been, where we are going, and who we belong to. Baptism is a moment when you say to yourself and others, “I follow Jesus, and will follow Him no matter what the future holds.”
Just as a married couple going through tough times need to remember their vows, we need moments where we remember that we knew the truth and knew what we believed, so we can look back at those moments when the doubts and struggle come crashing in. Your baptism can serve as an anchor in your spiritual journey, so that no matter how the winds blow, you know your life is tied to Jesus and His gospel.
4. We need it.
Baptism is an incredibly beautiful moment in your spiritual journey. But it isn't JUST for you. By being baptized during our Worship Gathering, you are helping your church family worship God through your story and your decision to publicly declare your faith in Jesus.
Also, by being publicly baptized, you are letting your friends and family who are not part of your Riverwood family (nor possibly part of God's family) know about your faith in Jesus. Your baptism might be exactly what God uses to help someone else find Jesus and begin to follow Him. So it's not just you and the Riverwood family that needs your act of worship by being dunked, but your spiritually disconnected friends as well.
So encourage others by being baptized on July 14!
To sign-up, simply send me an email, and we'll schedule a "class" where we can talk about the meaning of baptism as well as the practicalities of being baptized at Kohlmann Park on July 14.
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